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Web Searching: Lateral reading

Informing students on how to carry out effective web searches

Lateral reading

Lateral reading means to consider the source of information whilst reading their material. When searching the web it is good to consider the agenda behind the source and what the aims of the publication are. One way to do this is to follow what is called the COR test (developed by the Stanford History Information Group):

  • Who is behind the information?
    • Is this a peer-reviewed paper?
    • What does the about page of their website say?
    • Are they a credible source of information?
    • Do they hold a bias?


  • What is the evidence?
    • What evidence do they use to support their statement?
    • How was the research conducted?
    • How was the research funded?


  • What do other sources say?
    • What do other sources say about the organisation?
    • Are they cited by other sources?
    • Do other sources confirm or deny their findings?